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Known for his fresh takes on the classics — and his inventive use of blue-and-white color schemes — Mark D. Sikes is one of the preeminent American designers working today. A member of the AD100 and Elle Decor A-List, he has projects throughout the country and product partnerships with everyone from Schumacher to Hudson Valley Lighting. We spoke with Mark about his design style, his dazzling showhouse rooms, and his special affinity for creating indoor/outdoor spaces. See what he had to say, and be sure to shop his curation of Chairish favorites, as well as his pieces for Hudson Valley Lighting.

Mark Sikes
Mark D. Sikes

You’re known for having a classic American style that you reinterpret with a fun, fresh perspective. Tell us a bit about how you developed your personal aesthetic as a designer.

My design aesthetic has been cultivated over the years, starting as a young child. I’ve always been drawn to blue-and-white color schemes and traditional, classic styles. There’s a very clean, fresh, All-American aesthetic that has a sense of ease and comfort I’ve always been naturally drawn to.

What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate vintage and antique pieces into the spaces you design? What’s your perspective on using contemporary vs. vintage?

We always say every room should have two or three great antiques. But every room should have a balance of old and new. 

What do you think is the key to creating a perfect indoor/outdoor living space? 

Indoor/outdoor spaces should be comfortable as well as  functional. I like outdoor spaces that create enough flexibility so you can move pieces around whether you’re reading, lounging, or entertaining… outdoor spaces should be able to accommodate all of these things.

Mark Sikes

You have product collaborations with incredible brands like Schumacher. How do those develop, and what’s the most surprising part of that creative process?

The collaborations develop over time through a mutual admiration of each others’ work. We only collaborate with brands we genuinely love and those relationships then develop naturally. The biggest surprise in the design process is how design details progress. It’s important to communicate every step of the way and really talk through even the smallest design decisions.

Your projects stretch across the country, from Malibu to Manhattan. How does location impact your work? Do you have a favorite place to design, and if so, why? 

Being from California, we just really genuinely enjoy indoor/outdoor living, and that resonates in our work no matter where the project is. I love working everywhere — my favorite place to design is anywhere new.

You’ve contributed to quite a few designer showhouses, including your dazzling space at Kips Bay Dallas in 2020. What’s the most important thing to remember in taking on a showhouse space?

Even though showhouses are temporary spaces, you want a room to stand the test of time. Don’t get too caught up in the “wow” — of course you want it to wow, but you should do something you’ll appreciate and enjoy having in your portfolio forever.

Mark Sikes

On Chairish & Vintage Shopping

What do you find most compelling about Chairish?

Chairish is a unique one-stop source for great vintage and antique items, from stylish things that are inexpensive to high-end treasures. 

Are there any dream vintage/antique “gets” you wish you could have? What’s a dream piece for you?

I’m dying for a piece of art by Kenzo Okada. I’m also always looking for rare and unique sets of French dining chairs and pairs of French armchairs.

What are three of your favorite pieces on Chairish now?

I love this Franco Albini wicker ottoman; this blue & white ginger jar; and these Louis XVI-style chairs.

Mark Sikes

Some Design Favorites…

Favorite way to create a statement-making moment in a room: 

I love taking one amazing fabric and putting it on everything.

Favorite decorating “cheap thrill:” 

Big Japanese paper lanterns

Favorite iconic piece of vintage design: 

A French side chair

Favorite paint color: 

“Skylight” by Farrow & Ball

Favorite piece of decor in your home: 

The first antique I bought is this great chinoiserie armoire — it is still my favorite piece in my home!

Favorite designer or artist from the past you most often turn to for inspiration: 

There are so many! If I had to pick one, I would say Billy Baldwin.

Favorite style icon: 

Jackie Kennedy

Design destination every creative should visit at least once: 

The Vatican

Best piece of career advice you’ve ever received: 

Work hard and follow your passion.

Some Lifestyle Favorites…

Favorite vacation destination (the next time travel becomes an option): 

St. Bart’s

Favorite hotel that’s inspired your work while traveling: 

Casa Tua in Miami

Favorite restaurant: 

Mel’s Diner on Sunset Boulevard

Favorite small museum: 

Houston’s HIVE museum

Favorite Instagram account to follow: 

Marco Mansi

Favorite hostess (or thank you) gift: 

A myrtle topiary

Favorite flower: 

Lilies

Favorite adult beverage: 

Iced tea

Favorite way to unwind at home: 

Sitting in the garden

Favorite entertaining essential: 

A good playlist

All photos by Amy Neunsinger

July 7, 2021

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